Issue

Food

The United Nations defines food security as "all people at all times hav[ing] both physical and economic access to the basic food they need." For approximately 2 billion people throughout the world, this security is anything but guaranteed. Food security is a complicated issue that is susceptible to many forces.

Insecurity results from climate change, urban development, population growth, and oil price shifts that are interconnected and rarely confined by borders. It's an issue of global importance, and explored in-depth in the articles, videos and comments you'll find here.

In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, a legacy of corrupt governance and an economy based primarily on oil exports has left the agriculture sector significantly weakened and millions of Nigerians hungry. And as poorer neighboring countries export more food to Nigeria in exchange for petrodollars, people there also go hungry. In 2005, thousands of children in neighboring Niger died of malnutrition, not because the country had had a particularly bad harvest, but because there was a food shortage in Nigeria, and people in Niger could not afford the ensuing higher prices.

A different threat is set to face the continent's second biggest crop: wheat. In 1999, 50 years since the last outbreak, a new and virulent strain of stem rust attacked Ugandan crops. Its spores then traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya before appearing in Iran last year. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has since warned six other countries in Central and South Asia to watch for signs of the new strain while scientists in the U.S. are urgently working to find a resistant wheat variety. In India alone, more than 50 million small-scale farmers are at risk because they rely on wheat for their food and income.

In Tajikistan, the global financial crisis is forcing thousands of newly unemployed Tajiks to return from Russia. In a country already straining to accommodate Tajik refugees from Afghanistan, the government's chronic mismanagement has amplified the power and food shortages that permeate the countryside.

In Guatemala, income inequality is among the worst in the world, with indigenous communities at a particular disadvantage. In some regions, an estimated 75 percent of the children from infants to the ages of 6 and 7 are chronically malnourished. It is a startling example of food scarcity in a country a mere four-hour flight away from the U.S.

Asia faced its own food crisis as the price of rice doubled last summer. Some hunger experts are seeking out large-scale responses, including stepping up commercial agricultural techniques by introducing genetically modified rice and related products into the region. Other more localized efforts by universities and organizations are providing training in sustainable techniques for traditional farming families and minority ethnic groups.

Pulitzer Center grantees explore the connected causes and effects of food insecurity including efforts to secure the physical and economic access to food in countries most in need.

Food was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with the Project for Under-Told Stories and Saint Mary's University.

Food

The Chinese CRISPR Revolution

China has aggressively embraced CRISPR, a powerful new genome editing tool that's transforming the discovery of improved crops and medicines—and raises thorny ethical, regulatory, and legal issues.

Genetically Modified Orphan Crops in Africa

Scientists in Ghana are getting out of their labs to change public perception about genetically modified orphan crops. What could that mean for food security in sub-Saharan Africa?

Food Insecurity in Northern Canada

A look into the causes and consequences of food insecurity in Canada’s Arctic, where access to food is closely connected to Inuit culture, identity, and health.

Helping the Poor: What Works in Rwanda?

Governments, foundations, and nonprofits aim to help the world's poorest people by giving them livestock, cash, training, and education. What works best? How do we know?

Iowa in the Heart of China

At the center of the relationship between the world's two main superpowers are a small agricultural state and its governor-turned-ambassador. The stakes never have been higher for these "old friends."

Food Deserts

Our topic under the umbrella of food insecurity is the existence of food deserts in both rural and urban areas within the U.S. and how they compare and/or contrast in their causes and potential...

Malnutrition in Guatemala

In the following nutrition lesson plan, students will investigate educational resources using diverse media in order to articulate the issue of malnutrition in Guatemala.

School Lunch Around the World

In this lesson, students will explore controversy about India's midday meal program and consider how school lunches around the world compare to their own experiences.